Sunday, June 03, 2012

Genevan gems

Thanks to the Sunday afternoon 'blahs' being eradicated by the inspiration of River, I've decided to play Sunday Selections this week.

River's a good blogger who does this every Sunday whereas I do it when I damn well feel like it. A bit like blogging itself really.  Sunday Selections is a time to post up photos that you haven't used before that deserve their own time for viewing in cyberspace.  The original idea came from Kim at Frog Ponds Rock who realised that she takes many more photos than she uses, and wanted to show them off. 

River usually selects a theme, so I've decided to borrow that too and have labelled mine 'Found Objects,' or stuff I've snaffled at French-Suisse flea markets, second-hand shops and the street.

I love these little stainless steel guys.  They're Swiss-made, dacshund knife rests.  Usually sold in sets of six, but I only had fifteen francs and wanted one each to represent the three human beings in the household. These are just for sitting on the bookshelf, not to have cutlery resting on their backs.  Yesterday I saw a similar set but they were modelled on retrievers and didn't look quite so fetching.

Love Chunks' Columbia jacket.  A second-hand find from Emmaus: a used clothing, furniture and book shop that opens at 1:30pm weekdays to a crowd of at least 50 people waiting for the doors to be unlocked. This unworn $399 jacket cost me 25 francs and saw LC very comfortably through the Big  Freeze of February 2012 and skiing in Wengen.

I'm a sucker for a quirky - and preferably old - tin. Some sort of bike parts but the name is what did it for me: Dissoplast.  These days it would mean some form of personal insult "She applied the dissoplast treatment on you man, and you lost!"

Edgeworth pipe tobacco. Love the lettering and the colours. Maybe I was ripped off at paying seven euros, but I liked it.

My other Emmaus bargain - an Esprit unisex black coat that was still available brand new in their shops at the time of shelling out 20 francs for this one.  Retail price 299 Swiss francs.  A quick swim in our washing machine and it became a handy jacket that I rarely took off over autumn and winter and am likely to do so again this year and the next.

His Masters Voice tin, barely two centimetres wide. "Oh," Sapphire said, "Is that what HMV shops stand for?"

And inside were spare gramophone needles, still covered in delicate tissue paper.  Five francs!

Sapphire discovered Paul Klee during our visit to Basel late last year when I set the alarms off due to my not-inconsiderably-sized schnozz leaning in too close to some of his works. Why not get a book of his sketches and prints for five francs?

Why not indeed. The next plan is to find some cheap and unusual second hand photo frames to put her favourite ones in.

I prefer coffee over tea and have never owned a teapot whose spout did not dribble everywhere but in the cup, but this pewter beauty was sitting in a 500 year old French farmhouse being used for a brocante for the day.

It was mine for twelve euros.

To drugs now and Geneva was telling patients with mouth infections to Sod Off - sorry, Socop and make their lives slightly more bearable by mixing borax and menthol with Cocaine.

...... even my daschunds showed an interest.

Or there's Sod Right Off - no, sorry, Sodri pastilles, also locally-made.  Just a nice coloured tin really. Both cost five francs each.

Walking to the park with Sapphire recently, we spotted this chair at the front of our building on the day before Hard Rubbish Collection.  Usually there's a sadly unattractive selection of broken CD racks, sofa beds clearly past their prime (and covered in grime) and busted booster seats.  With a quick glance right and left, we retraced our steps and adopted the chair.  It clearly needs a rub down and a new coat of varnish but for right now it does perfectly well accommodating an extra person at the table during dinner parties.

Finally, a public confession to my best friend and husband of many years, beautiful, brainy and brawny Love Chunks.  Several weeks ago, I was brocanting with Robyn (a woman who possesses the unparalleled skill of being able to find the solid silver 19thC treasure hidden amongst a box of mouldy shoes and mosaic trays) and Jenne (an artist who is drawn to jugs and plates) and found this sewing table thingy:

"Combien monsieur?"

Eighty francs.  

No way. I was happy to walk off, having found out many times previously that Swiss stall holders don't haggle like they do on BBCs 'Put your money where your mouth is.'

Surprisingly he called me back. "Madame, Madame!  Soixante (60) francs."

Nah buddy. 

Madame - let me speak to my boss.  He gestured me over.  Robyn and Jenne were intrigued too and we walked slowly back to the stall.

The boss was snoring loudly on an ancient banana lounge set up in the back of his panel van, head tipped back so that his nose hairs blew gently in and out, in and out with each breath.  He didn't take too kindly to his young assistant shaking him awake and seeing three mature women staring at him with poorly disguised amusement.

He grunted something and rolled back to sleep.

Forty francs?

YES.  I then spent the next couple of hours lugging the thing about the markets like a supermodel's handbag.  Things evened out when both my companions ended up with copper bed warmers not unlike the one I found for LC last year.

We climbed aboard the tram with copper lids a clangin' and my drawers a squeakin'.  Add the clatter of some china dishes packed in plastic bags and the metal tinkle of some small bits of cutlery and we had the capability of providing the percussion for the solo accordian player busy busking at the other end of the tram.

The plan is to give this sewing table thingy a good clean, add a generous layer or two of furniture wax and have it in our living room. 

No, not as a sewing aid - I failed the sewing elective in Home Ec in year nine and haven't learned a single extra mending skill since.  No, this little beauty could perhaps offer a different selection of chocolate bars in each drawer?


drb said...

Hope you will bring these gems back to oz! Great collections!

Andrew said...

The sewing table is great but I really want the dog knife rests. Very simple and stylish.

Jayne said...

Oh, I LOVE your finds!!!
Those knife rests are gorgeous, I collect tins and those are great.
That sewing box is superb, thank gawd someone else carries big stuff home on public transport, too lol.
Had to look up the translation for brocante, I shall now use it more often as it sounds so fashionable!

Kath said...

drb, part of the reason for the tins is that they'll easily be able to fit inside a suitcase :)

Thanks Andrew - I might keep an eye out for other sets and make a 'boarding' kennel of them.

Jayne, use 'brocante' with gusto - it makes it sound a lot more glamorous than the reality of sorting through dusty boxes and old shoes!

Jo said...

I have a mini version of your sewing thing without the legs that belonged to my Nana. Yours looks great. Love the daschunds.

River said...

I'm so glad you joined us this week.
I LOVE the sewing box!! I would probably use it for stationery items, notepads, pens, envelopes and stamps.
Your dissoplast is a bicycle puncture repair kit.
The daschund knife rests are so perfect for you!

Nuttynoton said...

The sewing table is superb and what a bargain, like the idea of different chocolate bars in each drawer if they last that long, great post!

Jackie K said...

Beautiful objects all. Love the sewing table. I had never heard of knife rests before but now I want some!

Pandora Behr said...

You have some wonderful objects there - I really want some of those tins. Love tins and boxes.

JahTeh said...

Sewing box is perfect for the storing of chocolate but to make it better, put on some decorative wheels. I can see you lying on the couch, calling for a choc fix and LC giving a shove with his foot to have it land directly in front of your open mouth. How practical.

Jenwren59 said...

and I've recently read that we must consume 100g of dark chocolate a day to ward off heart problems .... perfect hiding place for a stash, nobody in my family would go near it!

Jenwren59 said...

perfect hiding place for chocolate, nobody in my family would find it - and having just read that 100g of dark chocolate will ward of heart problems it's perfect - shall spend this coming long weekend searching for my own sewing table!

Cathy said...

Kath, I have the exact same doggy knife rests! They get regular use at dinner parties. Great collection, especially the sewing table.

Kath said...

Jo, the daschunds are becoming rather popular in this house - they're small but visitors notice them and have to pick them up and play with them.

River - the stationery idea is a good one actually.... Although, now that Love Chunks has read this blog post and knows that I've bought the thing, we'll decide on where to put it and what to put in it together.

Nutty, that's the risk, isn't it - that those drawers are opening and closing at such a constant rate that I wear out the hinges!

Jackie I haven't used the dacshunds as knife rests - I just liked the cuteness of the design but yes, they are rather common over here.

Pandora, I hope to have a nice little tin collection to bring back some day.

JahTeh I like the way you think and will run that suggestion past Love Chunks tonight.

Jenwren59 - why restrict it to a mere 100g of dark chocolate? Wouldn't five hundred grams be even safer?

Thanks Cathy - where did you get your doggies from?

wilbo43 said...

I love the idea of filling a sewing box full of SWISS chocolates. Great idea.

diane b said...

I would like to be a fly on the wall when you pack to come home. Love your humorous writing. You are always good for a giggle.

ropcorn said...

So many cool stuff! I really liked the stainless steel doggies, even though I would probably never use them, but they had a certain charm about them. Hehe. :p

Red Nomad OZ said...

It's only a rip off if you THINK you were ripped off!!